Reactive Objects

Reactive Objects

Johan Nordlander, Mark Jones, Magnus Carlsson, Dick Kieburtz, and Andrew Black. In Proceedings of the Fifth IEEE International Symposium on Object-Oriented Real-Time Distributed Computing (ISORC 2002), Arlington, VA, 2002.


Object-oriented, concurrent, and event-based programming models provide a natural framework in which to express the behavior of distributed and embedded software systems. However, contemporary programming languages still base their I/O primitives on a model in which the environment is assumed to be centrally controlled and synchronous, and interactions with the environment carried out through blocking subroutine calls. The gap between this view and the natural asynchrony of the real world has made event-based programming a complex and error-prone activity, despite recent focus on event-based frameworks and middleware.

In this paper we present a consistent model of event-based concurrency, centered around the notion of reactive objects. This model relieves the object-oriented paradigm from the idea of transparent blocking, and naturally enforces reactivity and state consistency. We illustrate our point by a program example that offers substantial improvements in size and simplicity over a corresponding Java-based solution.

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